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Research Strategies and Citation Tools for Graduate Students: Bibliographic Managers

About Bibliographic Managers

Bibliographic Managers are also known as Citation Managers and Reference Managers.

They allow you to organize your research, group articles into folders and sub-folders, annotate and make notes, and create bibliographies or works cited lists.

Many are open source. A comprehensive list is provided in this article by Jemimah Rodriguez, in a blog post for the company GoodFirms.

The guide provided here will offer tutorials and guidance on two popular platforms: Zotero and Mendeley.

Questions to ask while selecting:

Feature Zotero Mendeley
Is it stand alone, or do I need an Internet connection? can work offline can work offline
Does it generate accurate citations?  Y Y
Does it work with a word processor? Microsoft Word? Google docs? Y Word-yes, Google docs, no
Does it allow me to share my folders, articles, and research? Y Y
Does it store items on my computer or the cloud? both both
Does it integrate with my browser? Y Y
Does it import from my library's databases? Y Y
Does it work on multiple platforms? Y Y


Zotero has two versions:

1) ZoteroBib ( is a web-based bibliography generator. Easy to use if all you need is to generate your bibliography, with no notation or file management needed.

screenshot zoterobib

2) Zotero full version ( allows you to organize, cite, annotate, and share your research, as well as create bibliographies.

screenshot taken from

ZoteroBib (7:09)

Zotero Full (12:40)


(From Mendeley's website,
Mendeley is a free reference manager that can help you store, organize, note, share and cite references and research data:

  • Automatically generate bibliographies
  • Collaborate easily with other researchers online
  • Easily import papers from other research software
  • Find relevant papers based on what you're reading
  • Access your papers from anywhere online

Mendeley screenshot

Mendeley Tutorial (6:18)